Police file kidnapping complaint vs Trillanes, 3 others

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has revived a witness testimony from 2017 to file a kidnapping complaint against former opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 3 others, including a priest and a nun.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Soriano transmitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) a letter-complaint dated August 15 accusing Trillanes, Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, lawyer Jude Sabio, and a certain "Sister Ling" of the "Convent of Cannussian  Sisters" in Makati City of allegedly kidnapping 43-year-old Guillermina Arcillas, a resident of Davao del Norte.

Arcillas was the same witness against Trillanes who claimed in 2017 that she was coached and bribed to testify that President Rodrigo Duterte was involved in the drug trade.

Trillanes had denied the accusation, saying it was Arcillas who had volunteered the information against Duterte to Sabio way back in 2016. Trillanes admitted that his staff met with Arcilla for vetting but that they decided she was not credible.

In a fresh new affidavit to the CIDG, Arcillas reiterated her accusation against the group, and detailed how she was supposedly kept in a convent in Metro Manila in December 2016 and barred from going out until she signed what she said was a "ready made" affidavit.

"It is clear from the foregoing that herein respondents feloniously, maliciously and intentionally put the complainant under detention for 14 days in order to force her to do something against her will," the CIDG said in its letter-complaint.

Trillanes and Alejo are both respondents in the inciting to sedition complaint also filed by the CIDG over the Ang Totoong Narcolist or Bikoy videos.

In a statement sent to reporters on Friday, August 30, Trillanes called the complaint a clear "harrassment case and persecution" of Duterte against administration critics.

"Saan ka makakita na pari at madre daw ang kasama ko sa pagkidnap at sa kumbento pa daw siya dinetain. Bukod pa diyan,  2016 pa raw sya kinidnap pero ngayon lang nagfile ng kaso," Trillanes said.

(Would you believe that a priest and a nun helped me kidnap her and that we detained her in a convent? Aside from that, she was supposedly kidnapped in 2016 but she's only filing a case now.)

Davao Death Squad

Sabio has explained to Rappler before that Arcillas was supposed to complement the testimony of confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato and retired Davao cop Arthur Lascañas – both whistleblowers against Duterte over the alleged Davao Death Squad. Matobato and Lascañas are in hiding.

Sabio said he decided to drop Arcillas as a witness over arguments of money, which Sabio admitted was going to be given to the witness to be able to protect her and her family.

Sabio filed the first communication against Duterte for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The accusations are undergoing preliminary examination at the ICC.

Trillanes said on Friday that money seemed to be the only motivation for Arcillas.

"Ang impormasyon ko diyan ay isa siyang nagboluntaryong magtestigo laban daw kay Duterte pero butas-butas ang kwento at nanghihingi diumano ng pera kapalit ng kanyang salaysay kaya hindi tinanggap bilang testigo. Tapos nang hindi nabigyan ng pera, bumaliktad," said Trillanes.

(My information is that she volunteered to testify against Duterte but her story has so many loopholes and she was reportedly asking for money in exchange of her testimony so she wasn't admitted as a witness. Then when she wasn't given the money, she flip-flopped.) 

The kidnapping complaint is the latest in a string of charges against Trillanes, a fierce critic of Duterte.

In September 2018, he was arrested over rebellion charges which were revived after Duterte ordered the revocation of the amnesty granted to the senator in connection to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. He was released on bail. (READ: INSIDE STORY: How Duterte handled Trillanes fiasco from Israel, Jordan)

In December 2018, a Davao court issued 4 arrest warrants against Trillanes for separate ibel complaints filed by presidential son Paolo Duterte and presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio in September. Rappler.com

 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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